Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Hey all,
My girlfriend just decided to try keeping a tank for the first time, so I'm helping her plan. It's been a long time since I did the whole beginner tank thing, so I thought I'd check in here for some advice. Let me tell you all a little about the setup and then I'll ask a few questions. I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible so I don't scare her away from the hobby. I'd like to keep it cheap and simple but don't mind paying a little more for convenience or quality. Our tap water is pretty hard, somewhere around 8 ish if I remember correctly, we aren't interested in messing with the chemistry at all this time. I think she would be willing to fertilize a little bit, but I want to do everything possible to avoid algae problems. I don't need fantastic plant growth or anything.

The tank will probably be:
- standard 10 gallon tank, with hob filter, commercial hood, simple heater (maybe fixed temp?)
- fancy guppies, cherry shrimp
- basic plants like jungle val, java moss, maybe java fern or anubias


Most of my tanks have been largely custom and generally were stocked with fish preferring soft acidic water, so I'm looking for advice on harder water stocking options and equipment recommendations. I don't think we want to do too much diy this time around.

- Is there any consensus on which hob filters tend to be best? I used to prefer aquaclear because they were pretty simple and seemed to have a decent media capacity for their size, but that was a while ago. I definitely don't want anything that requires me to buy special filter cartridges or any of that bs. I usually just get something simple, oversize it a bit, and then fill most of the capacity with biological media.

- Same for the hood, general recommendations? I remember it was really hard to find a decently priced hood, they always seemed unreasonably expensive to me. For growing simple plants, can I just get a cheap hood and slap in a better bulb? Maybe just like a 6700k fluorescent? Again it's been a little while since I looked at what was best for fluorescent.

- I'd like to find a good bottom dweller for the tank. Normally I'd pick otos or cories, but I think otos are too fragile and neither is really compatible with the hard water. If there are any cories that can do alright in this water I'd love to hear about them. They'd be perfect if not for the water. I'm not interested in plecos. Are h=there maybe any loaches that would be ok?

I'm still open to all suggestions at this stage, Thanks for all the advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,183 Posts
Welcome to TFK!

It sounds like you're on the right track and have a good plan.

As for HOB filters, I too am an Aquaclear fan as the design is much better than cartridge type filters, allowing the hobbyist to decide the media (although the outta the box stuff is fine).

As for hoods, you're right as some will come with a florescent light better suited for viewing than for growing plants....but often getting a better light will resolve the issue.

As for your water. you might consider softening it some by mixing in some RO or distilled water. I 'lighten' mine some by mixing my well water 50/50 with water I reclaim from my basement dehumidifier.

I have a couple of Pepper Cories that are doing just great, but I'm unsure about the hard water issue, although I think most fish can adapt to a very wide range in this regard as long as they're acclimated slowly.

Good luck and keep us posted!
AD

Hey all,
My girlfriend just decided to try keeping a tank for the first time, so I'm helping her plan. It's been a long time since I did the whole beginner tank thing, so I thought I'd check in here for some advice. Let me tell you all a little about the setup and then I'll ask a few questions. I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible so I don't scare her away from the hobby. I'd like to keep it cheap and simple but don't mind paying a little more for convenience or quality. Our tap water is pretty hard, somewhere around 8 ish if I remember correctly, we aren't interested in messing with the chemistry at all this time. I think she would be willing to fertilize a little bit, but I want to do everything possible to avoid algae problems. I don't need fantastic plant growth or anything.

The tank will probably be:
- standard 10 gallon tank, with hob filter, commercial hood, simple heater (maybe fixed temp?)
- fancy guppies, cherry shrimp
- basic plants like jungle val, java moss, maybe java fern or anubias


Most of my tanks have been largely custom and generally were stocked with fish preferring soft acidic water, so I'm looking for advice on harder water stocking options and equipment recommendations. I don't think we want to do too much diy this time around.

- Is there any consensus on which hob filters tend to be best? I used to prefer aquaclear because they were pretty simple and seemed to have a decent media capacity for their size, but that was a while ago. I definitely don't want anything that requires me to buy special filter cartridges or any of that bs. I usually just get something simple, oversize it a bit, and then fill most of the capacity with biological media.

- Same for the hood, general recommendations? I remember it was really hard to find a decently priced hood, they always seemed unreasonably expensive to me. For growing simple plants, can I just get a cheap hood and slap in a better bulb? Maybe just like a 6700k fluorescent? Again it's been a little while since I looked at what was best for fluorescent.

- I'd like to find a good bottom dweller for the tank. Normally I'd pick otos or cories, but I think otos are too fragile and neither is really compatible with the hard water. If there are any cories that can do alright in this water I'd love to hear about them. They'd be perfect if not for the water. I'm not interested in plecos. Are h=there maybe any loaches that would be ok?

I'm still open to all suggestions at this stage, Thanks for all the advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
For a 10g tank, I would not use any filter other than a simple sponge. With plants this is more than adequate.

On the corys and water, what exactly is the GH (general hardness) and pH of your tap water? You can get this data from the municipal water supply, they probably have a website. Assuming it is moderately hard but not liquid rock, either of the two commonly-seen corys, Corydoras paleatus and Corydoras aeneus, will manage, in a group of 4-5. You can read about them and see photos in our profiles. There are no loaches suitable for a 10g regardless of water.

On the hood, the least expensive is the 2-socket incandescent hood. And you can use CFL bulbs. Two 10w GE Daylight 6500K CFL bulbs will be fine; I have this over my 10g and the plants thrive.

Byron.

P.S. Welcome to TFK forum.:-D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sanguinefox

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The water quality report lists hardness as 252 ppm, it doesn't say that this is general hardness but I assume that's what it is. TDS is listed as 366, pH is not mentioned.

Excellent tip on the hood, the incandescent hoods are considerably cheaper so it's good to know I can use that hood and just swap the lights.

And thanks for the welcome!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also, I was planning on just using play sand for substrate. Pretty standard, but any possible issues?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
I have play sand in my big tank and love it. Just wash it really well and expect to let it settle for a day or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,265 Posts
There's also the option of Black Diamond Blasting Sand. I've been having a ball with it, but it also requires major rinsing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
The water quality report lists hardness as 252 ppm, it doesn't say that this is general hardness but I assume that's what it is. TDS is listed as 366, pH is not mentioned.

Excellent tip on the hood, the incandescent hoods are considerably cheaper so it's good to know I can use that hood and just swap the lights.

And thanks for the welcome!
That is hard water, around 14 dGH. And the TDS (total dissolved solids) is high, which is as important for fish. Stay with hard water fish (livebearers for example). The two previously mentioned corys should manage though I can't say for certain or how long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah it's pretty bad around here, if the corys can't take it well I probably won't get them. As a beginner tank it's likely there will be some other stressors until the kinks get worked out, so I'll suggest she stick with fish that will do better in that water to begin with.

Now for the future, I understand that the tap water can just be diluted with distilled water to produce whatever hardness I want. But will the pH drop as well or will that need additional adjusting after the hardness has been corrected? I've always been unclear on adjusting pH after hardness is in the right range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Yeah it's pretty bad around here, if the corys can't take it well I probably won't get them. As a beginner tank it's likely there will be some other stressors until the kinks get worked out, so I'll suggest she stick with fish that will do better in that water to begin with.

Now for the future, I understand that the tap water can just be diluted with distilled water to produce whatever hardness I want. But will the pH drop as well or will that need additional adjusting after the hardness has been corrected? I've always been unclear on adjusting pH after hardness is in the right range.
Yes, you can dilute hard water with "pure" but just remember this is a long-term commitment; weekly partial water changes will require mixed water too. And the pH will likely lower with this too, though depending...

Which brings me to the fact that the pH is related to the GH and KH. Rather than go into this, I will refer you to my article on the subject:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...water-hardness-ph-freshwater-aquarium-188705/

You will likely have more questons after reading this, so feel free to ask.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah I've read that before, it's a great article by the way. Easily one of the best explanations I've found. I'm pretty sure I've got a good handle on it all, just a few fine points I'm not sure about.

1) In the carbonate hardness section it says "KH has no direct impact on fish". The intent here is that, disregarding how this buffers the pH, KH has no impact on fish health other than what it contributes to the GH. Is this accurate? I'm not trying to mince words, just like to know exactly whats going on =)

2) When I am trying to adjust my water to be softer and more acidic, and I have already appropriately adjusted the hardness by dilution, are the natural biological processes of the tank enough to acidify the water? Or are there additional steps I should take after adjusting hardness?

Currently it's my understanding that pH will adjust on it's own after the hardness is adjusted, it just lags behind a little. I've been trying this on my 5g and it seems to be the case. Tiny water changes with distilled water have slowly brought the pH down from 7.5 to 6.5. Unfortunately I don't have hardness test kits so it's tough to draw specific conclusions from this. (I should clarify, this was with a different water source from the beginning and is unrelated to my tap water parameters).

Thanks for the help guys, always a pleasure to receive good advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
1) In the carbonate hardness section it says "KH has no direct impact on fish". The intent here is that, disregarding how this buffers the pH, KH has no impact on fish health other than what it contributes to the GH. Is this accurate? I'm not trying to mince words, just like to know exactly whats going on
Fish are not affected directly the the KH, no matter what it is. Fish are directly impacted considerably by GH, and somewhat less by pH (within reason, too far off and trouble). The fish's internal physiology depends upon the GH and pH, and these remaining stable for the most part.

2) When I am trying to adjust my water to be softer and more acidic, and I have already appropriately adjusted the hardness by dilution, are the natural biological processes of the tank enough to acidify the water? Or are there additional steps I should take after adjusting hardness?
This will largely depend upon the KH of the resulting water mix. If it is still significant, it will prevent the pH from lowering.

Currently it's my understanding that pH will adjust on it's own after the hardness is adjusted, it just lags behind a little. I've been trying this on my 5g and it seems to be the case. Tiny water changes with distilled water have slowly brought the pH down from 7.5 to 6.5. Unfortunately I don't have hardness test kits so it's tough to draw specific conclusions from this. (I should clarify, this was with a different water source from the beginning and is unrelated to my tap water parameters).
Again, the KH can prevent the pH from lowering, up to the point when the KH is exhausted. Without knowing these numbers, it is difficult to predict. Can you get the GH and KH from the water folks?

It is possible to have a very low GH and KH but a high pH. Also, many factors in the aquarium will affect all this, from water changes, fish numbers and feeding, plants, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok I think I get it. Mostly I figure I need to round out my test kit with gh and kh so I can see the whole picture. But as far as the new tank goes I'm definitely all set. I may check back in for specifics about bulb choice if it ends up not being a 10g with incandescent hood. I'm pushing for a slightly larger tank
Posted via Mobile Device
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok so it's looking like we may actually go with a 20g long, I think this will be a lot easier to learn with than a 10g. What lights do you guys prefer for simple plants on this size tank? Can I get away with a standard 30" hood and fluorescent (17W I think), or is that not gonna cut it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,557 Posts
Ok so it's looking like we may actually go with a 20g long, I think this will be a lot easier to learn with than a 10g. What lights do you guys prefer for simple plants on this size tank? Can I get away with a standard 30" hood and fluorescent (17W I think), or is that not gonna cut it?
Yes, the fixture is fine [I have the same over my 29g which is also 30 inches long but a bit deeper than a 20g Long]. You will need to get a good tube, as the ones that come with all of these are insufficient.

The good tubes are Life-Glo 6700K, or ZooMed UltraSun 6500K. The 24-inch tube size will fit the fixture.

Byron.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
766 Posts
I second the notion that you really don't need anything other than a simple sponge filter for a tank like this. Plus, unlike the HOB you can stick a check valve if you hook it up via a sponge and it's pretty fool proof during a power loss and back on situation. Another pro is that should you ever lose power completely you can swap your filtration over to a batter powered air machine quite easily :3

If you have not considered it yet, consider buying some root tabs. Then during set up, crumble them into a fine powder and sprinkle it on the bottom of the tank concentrating around where you ideally want to pant before putting in the sand. Doing so will offer a good jump start to your plants down the road. Remember sand is inert(doesn't absorb or hold nutrients well) so any plants you put in that are root feeders benefit from enriching the sand with pockets of nutrients which is what root tabs give you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I'm not convinced a sponge filter is quite right for this situation. I know they work, no disagreement there. But in this case I'm not sure it's quite the right fit. The tank is going to be kept by a novice, so I'd like it to have an excess of media and flow. It'll also be viewable from both sides so I feel like a sponge filter might be tough to hide. In addition, I think she's going to put guppies in here so stocking will be um, variable haha. I'd really like it to be over filtered, even though it definitely isn't necessary for this size tank. On the other hand, I've never kept a tank with a sponge filter, so I really don't have a good feel for how much filtration they provide.

I really like the root tab suggestion, that is fantastic! Mind giving me a little more info though? How many tabs? Do you have a brand you prefer? I've only ever used liquid ferts before this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also, does crushing the tabs not release too many nutrients under the water? is there just not enough flow in the substrate for this to be an issue?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
766 Posts
Also, does crushing the tabs not release too many nutrients under the water? is there just not enough flow in the substrate for this to be an issue?
When you do your initial set up, when the tank is bare...that is when you crush the tabs and layer them. Over that you layer sand...and take care to put the water in as such a way that it doesn't disturb the sand too much.

I understand your misgivings about the sponges. I once felt the same way looking at their simple design. You intend to keep small fish, some of which are delicate. The non-fish, the shrimp being rather delicate and they don't do too well in tanks with HOB's as they have a tendency to get sucked into the intake. So if you go with an HOB you still have to cover the intake with something, which may very well have to be something like a sponge. This is why I suggest just doing a sponge filter and find a clever way to hide it. You need one either way and of course the choice is yours. Sponges though, they have a lot more power than a lot of people want to give them credit for.

I ran a full community with loaches and rainbows in an 80 with a single sponge rated for 125 gallon. Had happy healthy shrimp, and later on when the tank got converted to a single fish tank (for a predator) I found surprise fry left over from the community who now sit in a 10 gallon grow out tank. That 10 gallon runs on well, plants and an airstone I stuck into a AC sponge and it's suctioned to the wall. 4-5 days going in and so far the fry are as lively as can be. Point is you can get away with a wonderful planted 10 gallon without the use of any major equipment such as a HOB.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top